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Cantonese Steamed Fish: A Delicious and Healthy Dish

If you're looking for a healthy and flavourful way to prepare fish, Cantonese steamed fish is an excellent choice.

This classic Chinese dish is simple to make and can be ready in just 20 minutes.

Steaming the fish keeps it moist and tender while allowing you to infuse it with a range of delicious aromatics.

A whole fish, steamed with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce in a bamboo steamer, surrounded by steam and garnished with fresh cilantro

To make Cantonese steamed fish, you can use a variety of different types of fish, but it's essential to choose a fresh fish that's firm and has clear eyes.

The fish is then seasoned with ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and other ingredients, and steamed until it's cooked through.

The result is a delicate and delicious dish that's perfect for a healthy dinner or a special occasion.

If you're new to Cantonese steamed fish, you may have some questions about how to make it and what ingredients to use.

In this article, we'll cover the essentials of Cantonese steamed fish, including how to choose the right fish, how to prepare it, and how to perfect the flavour.

We'll also answer some frequently asked questions about this classic Chinese dish.

Essentials of Cantonese Steamed Fish

A whole fish, seasoned with ginger and soy, steams in a bamboo basket over boiling water

Cantonese steamed fish is a classic dish that is easy to prepare and always a crowd-pleaser. Here are the essentials you need to know to make the perfect Cantonese steamed fish.

Selecting the Right Fish

The type of fish you use for Cantonese steamed fish is important.

You want to use a fresh whole fish that is firm and has clear eyes. You can ask your fishmonger to clean and scale the fish for you.

The most common type of fish used for Cantonese steamed fish is sea bass, but you can also use other types of white fish such as snapper, tilapia, or trout.

Just make sure the fish is fresh and firm.

Preparation Techniques

To prepare the fish, you need to make a few cuts on both sides of the fish to allow the steam to penetrate.

You can also stuff the cavity of the fish with ginger, scallions, and cilantro to add flavour.

Once the fish is prepared, you can steam it in a steamer basket or a wok with a lid.

The fish should be steamed for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.

To serve the fish, you can garnish it with more ginger, scallions, and cilantro.

You can also drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over the fish for added flavour.

Perfecting the Flavour

A whole fish, surrounded by ginger, scallions, and soy sauce, steaming in a bamboo basket over a pot of boiling water

Aromatics and Seasonings

To create the perfect Cantonese steamed fish, you need to use the right aromatics and seasonings.

Ginger is a must-have ingredient as it adds a fragrant aroma and a subtle spicy flavour to the fish.

Cilantro is also a popular choice as it adds a fresh, citrusy taste to the dish.

You can also use other fresh aromatics such as scallions and garlic to enhance the flavour of the fish.

When it comes to seasonings, light soy sauce and rice wine are commonly used to add a savoury umami taste to the fish.

You can also add a pinch of salt and sugar to balance out the flavours.

For a more complex taste, you can create a seasoned soy sauce by mixing soy sauce, sugar, water, and sesame oil.

Creating the Sauce

The sauce is an essential component of Cantonese steamed fish.

To create the sauce, you need to mix the seasonings and aromatics together.

You can also add hot oil to the sauce to give it a spicy kick.

The amount of sauce you make depends on the size of the fish.

As a general rule of thumb, you should use around 2 tablespoons of sauce per 100g of fish.

The Steaming Process

The steaming process is crucial to achieving a delicious Cantonese steamed fish.

You need to make sure that you have a steamer with a tight-fitting lid.

You can use a bamboo steamer or a metal steamer.

Make sure that the water is boiling before you place the fish in the steamer.

The cooking time depends on the size of the fish.

As a general rule of thumb, you should steam the fish for around 10-15 minutes per 500g of fish.

Make sure that you check the fish regularly to prevent overcooking.

Once the fish is cooked, you can pour the sauce over the fish and garnish it with fresh cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions

A whole fish steaming in a bamboo steamer, surrounded by aromatics and garnished with cilantro and green onions

What type of fish is ideal for a steamed dish?

When it comes to steaming fish, you want to choose a fish with a mild flavour and tender flesh.

Some popular choices include sea bass, snapper, and tilapia. However, you can also use other types of fish such as salmon or trout, as long as they are fresh and not too oily.

How long should you typically steam a fish?

The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the fish.

As a general rule, you should steam a whole fish for about 10-12 minutes per 500g. For fillets or steaks, it will only take about 5-7 minutes.

Remember to check the fish regularly to avoid overcooking.

Does steaming fish offer any health benefits?

Steaming is considered one of the healthiest ways to cook fish as it preserves the nutrients and natural flavours.

It also reduces the need for added fats and oils, making it a low-fat cooking method.

Steamed fish is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Is there a risk of overcooking fish when using a steamer?

Yes, there is a risk of overcooking fish when using a steamer.

It is important to monitor the cooking time and check the fish regularly to avoid overcooking.

Overcooked fish can become dry and tough, losing its delicate flavour and texture.

What are some popular seasonings to use for a steamed fish recipe?

There are many seasonings that can be used to enhance the flavour of steamed fish, including soy sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions, and cilantro.

Some recipes also call for Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, or oyster sauce. Experiment with different seasonings to find your favourite combination.

Can I steam fish from frozen, or should it be thawed first?

It is best to thaw the fish first before steaming it. Thawing the fish will ensure that it cooks evenly and thoroughly.

If you don't have time to thaw the fish, you can still steam it from frozen, but you will need to increase the cooking time by about 50%.